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‘Cyber Monday’ is a term that’s slowly been edging its way into our vocabulary, and today it’s known for being one of the biggest shopping days not only in the UK, but across the world. Cyber Monday has been around in the UK since about 2008, but it’s a trend that started a few years earlier in the United States.
The first official ‘Cyber Monday’ in the USA was held in 2005. The term was introduced following retailer feedback that sales were peaking on the Monday following Thanksgiving. It was thought that, after a long holiday weekend, employees were back in the office on Monday morning - where they had access to reliable, high speed internet connections - and started doing their Christmas shopping online.
Last year, £720 million was spent in the UK on Cyber Monday, but this wasn’t enough to beat the £810 million that was spent on Black Friday. However, Cyber Monday sales are expected to grow by up to 90 percent this year, and it’s anticipated that it will beat Black Friday as the biggest pre-Christmas shopping day. Why? Because this year, Cyber Monday also happens to fall on the last day of the month - payday!
Last year, Amazon and eBay were two online-based businesses that saw almost unprecedented successes on Cyber Monday. The 2014 Cyber Monday deals saw sales up by 9.82 percent at eBay, compared to figures for Cyber Monday 2013, and up by 30.76 percent at Amazon. This year, stores including Argos, Tesco, the Disney Store, John Lewis, Toys R Us, and Debenhams are all participating.
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is no longer ‘just’ an opportunity to grab a great deal. It’s no longer a craze, or even a tradition. It’s almost an institution in its own right that we all feel we need to participate in. It’s great for UK businesses, and it’s great for shoppers looking to be more cost savvy this season.
Black Friday is a term we’re all familiar with - it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year! - but what’s it all about? Where did it come from? And how much are we really spending in total on the day?
In the United States, Black Friday has been around since the 1960s. There are many different supposed origins of the term, but a popular belief is that while stores struggled to stay out of the red throughout the year, their profits finally hit the black the day after Thanksgiving. Now that the turkey was out of the way, the next big event in the calendar was Christmas, and families wanted to start buying presents.
In the United Kingdom, it’s a much more recent concept. Black Friday on this side of the pond can be traced back to 2003, but it wasn’t until 2013 that it really became huge - this is when Asda (part of the US-based Walmart chain) - announced that they would be bringing the tradition to Britain.
2014 was by far the biggest Black Friday in the UK to date, with big names like John Lewis also getting in on the bargain action. However, despite predictions, 2014 sales figures failed to knock Boxing Day off the top spot. While £810 million was spent on Black Friday last year, a whopping £2.7 billion was spent on Boxing Day. This year, all that is expected to change, and Black Friday is anticipated to take over!
Experts are estimating that Black Friday sales in 2015 will be boosted by up to 17 percent online, and by roughly 4 percent in store and, according to Google, Black Friday searches are up by more than 3 percent on last year! Amazon are reported to be offering twice as many Black Friday deals this year, bringing their sales range up to 7000 products and offering more choice to bargain hunters.
Online bathroom retailer Victoria Plumb has recently launched their latest competition! They’re asking homeowners to share pictures of their bathroom styles on Twitter with the hashtag #VPShareYourStyle in the hopes of becoming the company’s new style inspiration. So what sorts of trends are we seeing being shared this year? Here’s some common themes that are popping up among the entries:
These trends all have one very important aspect in common - they’re about moving away from the understated bathrooms of the past, and they’re finally starting to show off a bit of personality. This is happening as the purpose of the bathroom is continuing to evolve. No longer is it a place to simply get clean. It’s a place to relax, to unwind, to enjoy a glass of wine, or to share with a partner.
If you picture ‘paradise’ in your head, you’ll probably imagine something that looks pretty close to Mauritius. This stunning Indian Ocean island has the stereotypical white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, hot and sunny weather, and the fruity (and potent!) cocktails that most holidaymakers dream of. Destinations like Flic en Flac are very popular with honeymooners who want to relax surrounded by true luxury, with the Wolmar area - located just outside the town - offering some of the most secluded beaches in all of Mauritius. There’s just you, the water, and a few weeping filaos. Perfect!
Mauritius really is a beach-lover’s dream come true, but the island actually has a lot more to offer than first meets the eye. Believe it or not, Mauritius is bursting with culture and history, and evidence of the Dutch, French, and British settlers can still be seen in many of the inland regions. Similarly, the coastal towns are also fantastic places to learn more about the island’s history. The capital city boasts the famous Port Louis Market which sells all sorts of colonial handicrafts, while Aapravasi Ghat is well worth a look if you’re interested in learning more about the Indian settlement.
While there are no less than 8 semi-official languages of Mauritius, English and French are some of the most widely spoken, which makes it a very popular destination for Brits who don’t want to worry about the language barrier. However, learning a few words in Mauritian Creole certainly won’t do any harm - try ‘Bonzur’ (hello), ‘Merci’ (goodbye) and ‘La Plaz’ (beach). It’s very similar to French.
There’s really no ‘bad’ time to visit Mauritius. The summer months tend to be a little wetter, but the temperature remains pretty stable across the year. Whenever you choose to visit, don’t miss out on visiting a local rum distillery. With the island being on the original spice route that joined Asia to Europe via the Indian Ocean, Middle East, and Suez Canal, spiced rums with notes of cloves and ginger are hugely popular, and make a refreshing change from the standard white and dark rums available back home. Give them a try!
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